TOKYO, December 19. /TASS/. The project to build a transportation route from Sakhalin to Hokkaido should be economically justified, and be supported by the Russian and Japanese public, if a plan of this scale is to be carried out, Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko said in an interview with TASS.
"In order to examine such an idea, it is essential to carefully consider the technological possibilities and economic feasibility, taking into account the prospects for the construction of a railroad bridge from the mainland to Sakhalin, as well as the state of modernization of the Trans-Siberian railway," he said. The minister added that he would closely follow expert discussions on this issue.
At the same time, the economic minister noted that such massive interstate projects not only need to be validated by business, but would also demand "broader and long-term support of both nation’s population."
At the Vladivostok-hosted Eastern Economic Forum, First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that Moscow suggested Japan construct an automobile-railway link from Hokkaido to southern Sakhalin. This, according to him, would give Russia the opportunity to additionally use its railway infrastructure and simultaneously "make Japan a continental power."
Earlier, First Vice President of Russian Railways Alexander Misharin said in an interview with TASS that Russian Railways and Japan’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport created a working group for the Russia-Japan transport project. He noted that building a transport link between Sakhalin and the mainland is an essential condition to carry out the project.